In The Abolotion of Man which I have finally gotten around to reading, C.S. Lewis writes of the Tao. The Tao is a code of morality so universal as to be found all over the world and written indelibly on the heart of man. The Tao is not Judeo-Christian; it is not Muslim nor Norse, Egyptian, Roman, Hindu, Chinese, Babylonian , Greek—but all of those civilizations have ancient laws that support it. The Tao is the Natural Law of all peoples, not particularly rational, nor provable, but held naturally by all “rational” people.
At the end of the book is an appendix of examples from the abovementioned civilizations along with Native American cultures, Australian Aboriginal cultures, and so on. I was captured not so much with the uniformity of the commands, but with the beauty of the wording and how each culture said the same idea differently.
“Children, the old, the poor, etc. should be considered as lords of the atmosphere.”
“I have no caused hunger. I have not caused weeping.”
(Ancient Egyptian. Confessions of the Righteous Soul)
Love thy wife studiously. Gladden her heart all thy life long.”
“This first I rede thee: be blameless to thy kindred. Take no vengeance even though they do thee wrong.’
“…strain every nerve to live according to that best part of us, which being small in bulk, yet much more in its power and honor surpasses all else.”
“Anything is better than treachery.”
Vigor is valiant, but cowardice is vile.
Praise and imitate that man to whom, while life is pleasing, death is not grievous.
For part of my novel, I’m looking for ancient wisdom. Any old sayings or perhaps newer sayings are welcome as long as they point toward a Right way of living (of some kind). I’m being vague because most things are welcome: wisdom from any culture or tradition (poetry, perhaps? Eliot is great. Your favorite psalm?) that you find beautiful, inspiring, or profound.
Comment or message me or email me anything you’ve got: links, attachments, one sentence your mother always said to you when you were a child. As soon as you can or as late as it takes you—I’ll be collecting bits and pieces for a long time.
Next blog? How I met this guy =====>
and his teammate, the player who lost his Olympic bronze medal for proclaiming “Dokdo is our land” on a post-goal celebration in the London semis this summer.